Momofuku Milk Bar – Toronto, ON

Momofuku Milk Bar
190 University Ave
Toronto, ON

Swapping out a single word in the title of the previous post, we find ourselves upstairs in the very same establishment and into a glass-walled cool room, set up as a mini dessert shop-within-a-shop. It is a fully self-service, including the need to return down the flight of stairs to pay for purchases; which can be a pain when the hostess is trying to process a bill for a customer from the Noodle Bar, or trying to escort new customers to their seats. With a minimal footprint, if you’re in there browsing the goods with even a few other people, you can feel a bit squeezed in. I imagine it is a nice place to be in during the humid Toronto summer, but the late-winter/early-spring season makes you think you’re actually back outdoors.

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The Foodosophy of Food Gift Giving

This post is another reflection from my summer travels to Asia and in particular the two weeks I spent in South Korea.

The tradition of bringing back some local treats and gifts when one travels in an Asian country, especially when you have been to a more rural area and the city folk you left behind want to know what’s there, is one that I enjoy.  Especially when I’m one of those who are stuck in the rat race and urban jungle, and get to taste some goodies brought back from someone’s travels.  On this particular trip, it was the other way around, as I decided to purchase some sweet snacks that were reputed to be the best representation of what Gyeongju has, and I was told, would be appreciated by the Seoulites who would be on the receiving end of my generosity.

As with many food gifts, packaging is key, especially when one is challenged by a large display full of various types.  As people “eat with their eyes”, I can see why so much effort is spent on making the containers, boxes, etc. as appealing as possible and thus help boost sales.  Convenience for me is often key (especially when I’m traveling by air) and so a slim package such as the one above is much favored.  This particular pair of items was bought in a gift shop just before departing Gyeongju city.  A last stop kind of place to get your fill of this resort area before returning to the more populous (and non-touristy) places around the peninsula.

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Sweet Obsession – Vancouver, BC

Sweet Obsession Cakes & Pastries
2611 West 16th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Tel: (604) 739 0555

Nestled in a quiet neighborhood along West 16th Avenue, Sweet Obsession has been in existence for well over a decade now and has a strong customer base that appreciates the delectable delights and creations of Pastry Chef Tracy Kadonoff. Associated with the next door Trafalgars Bistro (previously reviewed on Foodosophy), Sweet Obsession currently operates a sit down cafe as well as housing a retail counter for take-away orders. It is a popular destination for late night gatherings, and you will often find the tables inside (and in the summer on the sidewalk patio) all occupied even past 9pm.  I’ve been there several times now over the past few years to eat-in as well as to take out, and most recently took friends there for their first experience after a group dinner.

Although I am not a huge dessert lover in general, there are times that I do have a craving for something sweet after a meal, or as a snack along with some good hot tea.  Given the choice, I will more often than not pass on anything chocolaty, and go for something along the lines of a cheesecake.  I think part of this is due to my curiosity about how each cheesecake will taste in terms of its texture and sweetness level, as I’ve had it come in so many different forms.  I’ve also found over the years that the denser is it, the less I am inclined to eat a larger portion (some sort of natural weight control mechanism for me perhaps).  The slice of Mango Cheesecake that I received here was on the richer side, which made cutting through with a fork not very easy.  The hint of mango flavor provided a refreshing tone to it, but overall it was quite sweet and even this little piece was more than I could handle.  Thankfully I was there with friends, who also had their own piece from which I could sample, and who could help polish off my cheesecake.

The Pecan Cranberry Tart was an interesting balance between the pecan filling and the cranberry (more sweet than tart).  It did taste very nice, though again I could probably not finish a single piece by myself as the richness of flavor was very strong.  The bottom shell was of a thinness that I enjoy, in that it was not too crumbly and did not leave that unpleasant dry granular dust-like taste you get in some pastries.

The third item that we shared was the Black & White Mousse.  I really enjoyed the top white layer as it was a softer, creamier consistency than the bottom half, which was much thicker and a whole lot sweeter.  Mixing the two flavors was a must, but the more I took a few bites, the less I wanted to slide my fork down into the darker section.  This cake was the least popular among our table.

The verdict?

Sweet Obsession fills a nice little niche as a neighborhood cafe, in a comfortable setting with plenty of dessert choices to enjoy.  It can get a bit hectic inside with both cafe diners and those just looking to take a piece/cake home as the floorspace is not that large.  As well, finding a free table at times is a challenge due to the popularity of the place.  The close proximity of the seating arrangements reminded me of coffee cafes in Asia.  However, on the right night, regardless of season, you will find it to be a pleasant place to meet with a friend or just sit and enjoy a book over a cup of coffee and a slice of dessert.  Who knows, it might just become your own little obsession.

Before we left, I quickly browsed the counter that featured an assortment of other food items.  This bag of mixed granola caught my attention, as I’d been looking for a cereal replacement that would interest me in the morning.  The price tag was a bit higher than it should be I thought, but nonetheless I purchased one and have enjoyed a few breakfasts with it since.

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